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samsonlonghair
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:15 pm

Dude, you guys will never believe what I just found at the godwill outlet!
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It works perfectly with my iMac G4 right out of the box; no drivers or kexts are needed. You might say, "it just works" so to speak. :wink:

I don't believe in luck, but this is one heck of a coincidence. I had been looking up this external sound module online because I wanted to get digital sound out of my iMac G4. The creative Extigy looked like my favorite pick, but It hadn't been in production for years, and I didn't like the prices on eBay. I just happened to find this for two dollars locally. What a score! :mrgreen:
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isiolia
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by isiolia Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:46 pm

The 2007 iMac I'd started on is now in much better shape. As mentioned, I got it free, and it had been sitting in my basement for a while now. The primary thing I knew of was the LCD panel damage, which (far as I know) is what got it retired in the first place. It actually did work, just, it looked like an ant farm or something. Between finding a reasonably priced replacement panel, and realizing that it could run 10.11 (if not beyond!) trying to fix it up got more compelling.

Anyway, I'd posted a pic of the LCD ealier, but I suspect that this was either in part humidity, or maybe, super-speculation time, trace moisture from the GPU heat pipe causing havoc. Either way, in addition to the LCD damage (which I have yet to see another like), the frame on the front glass had some corrosion, which was on the aluminum as well. Took some scrubbing to get rid of:

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It's a little hard to see, but you get the idea.

I also got a little overzealous and pulled the mic off of the frame, well, I pulled the wire off and the mic stayed on. So, I had to solder that back together, but hey, it works.

As mentioned earlier, while I was ordering parts, I ended up buying a Core2Duo T9300 on eBay to swap in for the T7700 it came with. To be fair, it was 90% a "for the heck of it" kind of swap, since the CPU was $15 shipped. It's a little performance bump, I believe runs cooler, and includes the next generation's features like SSE4.1 (the CPU requirement for Sierra). However, despite already having had the machine on a fair bit, installing 10.11, and so on...when I tried getting some base numbers to compare to, I saw that the GPU temperature was waaay too high. I did try turning the machine on for a minute later, and noted that the GPU temperature was high even at boot, and slowly crept up.
So, that was another thing to replace, and I was going to be taking the motherboard out anyway for the CPU. So, I preemptively ordered a GPU heatsink (and, at later points, ordered fresh thermal paste and pads).

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Fresh thermal compounds for errrybody

Once I got (most of) it all back together, the HDD fan - which was previously quiet enough that I didn't even realize it existed - started making a fair bit of noise. After toying with the idea of just unplugging it and maybe swapping in an SSD that wouldn't need it...I relented and took the whole thing back apart. Again. Popped the fan out/apart, examined it, put things halfway back together a couple times for test fittings....
Long story short, one needs to be careful about that fan getting pressure on it. Maybe even just not overtighten screws. :oops:

After resetting the SMC (again!) the fans all settled down and it's a nice, quiet machine. With testing, it actually stays quite cool as well. So, it seems like the GPU problem was (probably) tied to the heat pipe, which can apparently leak out its trace amounts of fluid and drastically reduce its heat-transferring capacity. Can't say I've run into it before, but, this is what the internet tells me.

Finally satisfied with how the guts were running, I progressed to putting the LCD back on, then (for the first time in years) the frame and front glass. Did I put the glass on, then notice something that got between it and the LCD, and have to find some suction cups to get the glass back off to clean it? Well, yes, that's basically part of the process in my experience. At least this time, it only happened once! :lol:

The other hardware upgrade I ended up doing was trading RAM with my '07 Macbook, to bring the iMac to 4GB, and that down to 2GB. However, since it tops out at 10.7.5...it has been more or less retired. I should probably put 10.5.8 back on it or something.

Then it was time for further testing. I figured, why not a game? Downloaded the Doom3 demo, which is...PowerPC only. :?
The more appropriate solution came to mind:
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For Science.

Along with this iMac, you know what else came out in 2007? The Orange Box! Which, I happened to have gotten for Christmas that year, along with the aforementioned Macbook. Portal hype was real. My first playthrough of it was on the Intel GMA graphics on that poor little laptop, fans blasting the whole time. I played through it again after I got home, on my gaming rig, which was much better. Haven't really played it since...so I installed Steam, then Portal, and ran through it again.
While I can't say it ran especially well, relative to even whatever GPU I had back in '07...it was playable, and didn't even ramp up the fans. So, the machine seems to be pretty solid.

The one quirk that I have yet to resolve is basically a given for CPU swaps on Macs - if Apple didn't make a Mac with that CPU, OS X doesn't know what it is, and won't identify it correctly. Supposedly, FakeSMC.kext (Hackintosh stuff) should have fixed that, but, nothing I tried worked. Far as I know, this is basically just a cosmetic issue - specs will claim it's a 400Mhz Core2Duo instead of 2.5Ghz, but performance is in line with the actual chip:

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That's Geekbench on the right, I cropped that information out because I'm smart.

It's remotely possible that there are some low power or throttling things that might not work...but it seems to sleep and wake fine. So, good enough really. It's a decent enough machine for basic tasks like web browsing now, and with 10.11 it can still use the current programs. With an SSD it'd be better, but, I was trying not to put much money into reviving it (keeping in mind that these are well under $200 used in the first place). As mentioned earlier in the thread, it is possible to push these to running 10.12, maybe 10.13 - in this case, the WiFi/Bluetooth would need to be upgraded, I think (or just do without it)...but again, in my experience, 10.12 runs like poop with 4GB of RAM. Sticking with 10.11, the final actually-supported OS revision, is more ideal.
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Mon Jan 22, 2018 4:50 pm

Way to go, isiola! Bravo!

These projects sometimes take on a new life of their own, don't they? I've been working on another iMac. Everytime I think I have everything fixed... well, you know how that goes. I'm glad you stuck with it. The results are really impressive.
isiolia wrote:The one quirk that I have yet to resolve is basically a given for CPU swaps on Macs - if Apple didn't make a Mac with that CPU, OS X doesn't know what it is, and won't identify it correctly. Supposedly, <span class="skimlinks-unlinked">FakeSMC.kext</span> (Hackintosh stuff) should have fixed that, but, nothing I tried worked. Far as I know, this is basically just a cosmetic issue - specs will claim it's a 400Mhz Core2Duo instead of 2.5Ghz, but performance is in line with the actual chip:

You need to find and modify the file called "AppleSystemInfo.strings" which is packed into the file "AppleSystemInfo.framework" inside the Library folder.

Try the guide here:
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/01/13 ... ackintosh/
I think this will take care of everything you need.
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isiolia
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by isiolia Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:10 pm

samsonlonghair wrote:Try the guide here:
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/01/13 ... ackintosh/
I think this will take care of everything you need.


I can certainly try it. If it was just System Profiler it'd be one thing, but stuff like Hardware Monitor (which I got the thermals from) report it like that too. Or, mix them up - on one line it'll say it's a T9300 2.5Ghz, and another will say 400Mhz. My impression was that, with the appropriate kext, the information given would be accurate - currently throttled speed and the like (this thread was where I'd seen it mentioned).
Still, a lot of things may just be pulling the info from System Profiler :lol:
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by Jagosaurus Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:12 am

Interesting. I am not an Apple user, but wanted to chime in as I worked for a certified Apple repair shop for a couple years to put myself through grad school (2010-'12). We focused on hardware repair but still had to get the software & OS running after repairs. We were reimbursed directly by Apple for warranty work. Pretty cool job. I started as a lacky, but gradually gained more responsibility when my boss saw it interested me.

We also had warranty work contracts with Dell, HP, & Lenevo but we'd still work on every other manufacturer as a third party service. We did it all (monitors, TVs, desktops, laptops, faxes, printers) except phones. I'd say 55%+ of our business was Apple. :shock:

Looking back now, I owe my current career to that job. I could tell your some stories. Man... bringing back some memories of those iMac screen swaps wearing gloves :lol:. So many cracked mac books... I'm talking 100s upon 100s in 2 years. Students would put them in crammed backpacks and zip them up. The accompanying books/junk would just destroy them. Not just screens, I saw several cracked HDDs.

Apple themselves (the warranty arm) was a pretty cool group to work with. I never once saw a refuted warranty claim. They always paid us out. One less machine entering their shops. We also had a quick turn around (usually 5 days or so) which kept their customers happy.

Keep up the good fight fellas. I'll never open another Mac although it's still on my resume 8).
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:46 am

That's a cool story, Jag. What was the name of the place? How'd you wind up working there?

@Isiola: once again, great work on that iMac. It looks stunning! How's she holding up?

I might have another iMac to work on here shortly...
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isiolia
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by isiolia Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:13 am

samsonlonghair wrote:@Isiola: once again, great work on that iMac. It looks stunning! How's she holding up?

I might have another iMac to work on here shortly...


I haven't really used it since. I tried pulling the SE/30 I have up from the basement, and opened it up to find that the battery had blown up and ruined the board/etc (something like a 50/50 chance for that at this point). So...that may end up being more a project to put something in the case. :? I have pics somewhere. It's gruesome.
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by marurun Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:19 am

I found Dells the easier to work on, but they so often needed to be worked on. Especially in the mid 2000s when they had a massive run of bad caps on their motherboards. Good lord that time was painful. I rarely had the chance to work on Macs because they seemed to hold up so much better, for the most part. Despite being Apple certified, I was almost never able to call that certification in.
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samsonlonghair
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by samsonlonghair Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:42 am

isiolia wrote:
samsonlonghair wrote:@Isiola: once again, great work on that iMac. It looks stunning! How's she holding up?

I might have another iMac to work on here shortly...


I haven't really used it since. I tried pulling the SE/30 I have up from the basement, and opened it up to find that the battery had blown up and ruined the board/etc (something like a 50/50 chance for that at this point). So...that may end up being more a project to put something in the case. :? I have pics somewhere. It's gruesome.

By all means, please do post said gruesome pics.

An SE/30 would be a cool project case. You gotta love that "classic" macintosh look. It would be fun to gut a blown SE/30 and build the ultimate sleeper. I've looked into this more than once. I would want to replace the B&W CRT with a color LCD, but it's not easy to source a nine inch monitor with a 3:2 ratio. A nine inch monitor with a 4:3 ratio would be pretty close, but those aren't easy to find either. I think techmoan posted an image some years ago of an iPad crammed into the classic case. Ironically, that iPad is now obsolete itself. I'd rather have a mac-mini in there than an iPad anyway.

Does your SE/30 have one of those cool mechanical keyboards? I always wanted an Apple Extended Keyboard, but I wouldn't be able to do anything with it unless I wrangled up an ADB-to-USB convertor. It would just end up on top of my pile of mechanical keyboards. :lol: Darnit Sam, how many keyboards do I need? :roll:
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Re: Apple Computers & iMac - Repair, Mod, and Upgrade!

by marurun Mon Feb 05, 2018 12:00 pm

Non-recoverable SE/30s, Classics, and other single-unit Macs make good aquariums.
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